World Mental Health Day - 7 key ways for employers to help mental health & financial wellbeing

Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions (NYSE: AON), has developed a guide: How to support financial wellbeing: Seven secrets to success', showing seven ways employers can support employee mental health with financial wellbeing.

The guide has been developed by experts after the Aon Benefits and Trends 2019 survey found that support for mental health was one of the top five changes in employee expectations. The findings included that 79% of respondents said employees expected better awareness around mental health issues, that 54% said they wanted access to financial education, and that 62.5% of employers believe that it is their responsibility to support staff with financial wellbeing.

Other research has shown that 46% of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem (1), while 22% of employees have said their financial situation causes them stress and negatively impacts their productivity (2).

On top of this, those struggling with mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders are also more likely to be struggling with debt and other financial problems. This was shown by analysis from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute which looked at data from a recent Adult Psychiatry Survey of 7,500 people across England which found that 1.5 million people with mental health disorders also have debt problems.

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon, said:

“The combined research provides valuable insight into the two-directional relationship between mental health and finances, while setting the case for a more holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing. Employers should consider taking a sustained and whole person view if wellbeing interventions are to have a genuine impact.

“The impact of changing trends and new expectations shouldn’t be underestimated. Employers need to evolve their approach to mental health support in order to keep pace with their employees. It’s fast becoming a must have, especially with the next generation of workers entering the workplace.”

Aon’s guide breaks down steps for employers, highlighting that financial wellbeing does not need to be complicated for employers and that pinpointing problem areas within a workforce is important in order that employers can focus on the best resolution.

The guide, How to support financial wellbeing: Seven secrets to success' includes steps including reviewing how financial wellbeing sits alongside an overall wellbeing strategy, using data to audit the existing approach, setting goals, investigating technology, using a framework to plan a strategy and roll-out approach, communicating, engaging champions and reviewing support.

Martin Parish, a financial wellbeing expert at Aon, said:

“Financial wellbeing is a key component of an individual’s overall wellbeing, which also includes physical, mental and social wellbeing. It goes beyond just having enough money in the bank - it includes good financial management and having the appropriate tools to facilitate financial decisions. It’s the peace of mind that comes with knowing there is enough money for both present and future financial commitments.

“As one of the core wellbeing pillars, employee financial wellbeing is a growing concern for businesses. Financial Conduct Authority figures show that 67% of employees are currently struggling financially3, which can have a detrimental impact on both their own health and business performance. It’s no wonder so many employers want to support their employees.”

 

(1) Money and Mental Health Policy Institute: https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/money-and-mental-health-facts/

(2) https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/money-worries-in-the-workplace/ 

(3) https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/fawg-financial-well-being-workplace.pdf  

Kay Phelps